Shearer names new spokespeople for quake portfolios

By Cullen Smith of The Star

List MP Clayton Cosgrove will be taking over responsibility for the Earthquake Commission. Photo / File
List MP Clayton Cosgrove will be taking over responsibility for the Earthquake Commission. Photo / File

Labour Leader David Shearer has named new spokespeople in two key earthquake portfolios.

Visiting Christchurch yesterday, Mr Shearer said the reshuffle followed Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel's decision to stand for the mayoralty.

Ms Dalziel retains her position as associate justice spokeswoman and keeps her Civil Defence and emergency management responsibilities, but her earthquake recovery portfolio goes to Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson, with list MP Clayton Cosgrove taking over responsibility for the Earthquake Commission.

Wigram MP Megan Woods has been given an associate education role, working with Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins on the Christchurch schools issue, and will keep her role as associate transport spokeswoman for Christchurch.

Making the announcement during a visit to the Mainland Media headquarters, Mr Shearer said Labour wanted to avoid a conflict of interest with Ms Dalziel taking a more active role regarding the mayoralty.

However she would be able to provide "guidance in the background".

"I think it's necessary. It gives Lianne a bit of clear air to talk about things to do with the mayoralty."

Although she would have an advisory role on earthquake issues behind the scenes, Mr Cosgrove would be tasked to make sure EQC was working well.

"He's good at banging heads," Mr Shearer said.

He said Ms Dalziel had done "sterling work" as earthquake Recovery and EQC spokeswoman.

"She has stood up for the people of Christchurch and driven Labour's grassroots approach to tackling the rebuild.

"But given her bid for the Christchurch mayoralty, Lianne agrees that the time is right for others to step into those roles," Mr Shearer said.

He said he expected a by-election in Christchurch East would be "later in the year rather than earlier" and believed it would be wise to stay clear of the local body elections in October.

"After, rather than before would be ideal."

Mr Shearer said Labour would be pushing to regain Christchurch Central and Waimakariri electorates at next year's general election.

"There is a sense I pick up in Christchurch that people are just tired of the Government and that a lot of things haven't moved as fast as people would have liked."

He believed the type of "community approach" Labour would bring to the city's recovery would "resonate".

- Christchurch Star

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